The failure of the House and Senate to pass badly needed funding reforms giving children in places such as Brockton, Holyoke, and Worcester the same educational opportunity as children in Dover, Concord, or Newton has one positive outcome: It has galvanized forces inside and outside the Legislature to consider funding schools fairly as job one for the coming year (“School funding formula unaltered,” Page A1, Aug. 2).
Schools in low-income communities have more English-language learners, more special needs students, and issues such as homelessness, and yet they have fewer guidance counselors, tutors, and psychologists and contend with lower-paid teachers, dilapidated facilities, and larger class sizes. It is simply wrong that, under the outdated funding formula, Brockton can spend only about $15,000 per student, while Weston, with fewer education hurdles to overcome, spends more than $24,000.
This is a cause for every CEO, hospital administrator, college president, and Gateway City mayor to champion if we are going to have the kind of workforce we need to fuel the innovation economy.
Lawsuits would take years. A ballot question, if passed, wouldn’t be in front of voters for at least two years and would still require legislative support to implement.
The answer is to get back to work with legislators to make this happen in the next session. Stand for Children is working with stakeholders across the state and organizing parents to be sure we get this terrible inequity fixed in the next year. We don’t have a lot of time, if we are going to help children in the state’s most underserved districts.
Stand for Children Massachusetts